Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby Ragstaff » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:14 pm

Vampire bla bla bla

In the context I had in mind for this thread (described in previous post, sorry for double-post!), I will give my opinion on the Vampire.
The good - anything that sticks an FPGA inside the ST with low level access to the rest of the hardware gives the opportunity for convergence, to add "legacy features", like a VIDEL, TT Shifter, STE sound, blitter... BUT only the opportunity. Only Atari people would be interested in these features (not Amiga people). If we put in the effort (which hasn't been done for Firebee, btw) it could be taken, but there are clearly question marks over this collaboration, control, who owns what, and the future.
The bad - I see a big potential of a "splintering", divergence with the Apollo / Vampire in the Atari world. It's not the same for the Amiga,for legacy software I think the Vampire suits the Amiga much more because they have more highly developed, active operating systems, newer games and active software which already runs on many different 68k CPU's.
I see the potential for divergence with the Vampire in the ST not just because of "compatibility" (I know, even a '020 upgrade to the ST breaks compatibility as much as '080) but simply because it is so powerful and expensive it will have users with very different needs, expectations and visions of the future. I see many Atari Vampire users gravitating towards the Amiga scene.
That's fine, but in the context of this thread it's divergence. For those of us who just want our Atari's to be Atari's, to feel a small pulse still in the veins of our old, beloved platform, who believe that is better supported by uniting, uniting our development efforts, uniting our user experiences (sorry to use an Apple buzz word!) then I see the Vampire as incompatible with my needs.

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby Frank B » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:21 pm

[/quote]Natami failed because of Coldfire is not compatible enough to run Amiga-OS and many many software..[/quote]


Natami failed because the lead dev was sick of users unrealistic expectations, took his ball and went home.
Last edited by Frank B on Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby Ragstaff » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:22 pm

Ragstaff wrote:The good - anything that sticks an FPGA inside the ST with low level access to the rest of the hardware gives the opportunity for convergence, to add "legacy features", like a VIDEL, TT Shifter, STE sound, blitter... BUT only the opportunity. Only Atari people would be interested in these features (not Amiga people). If we put in the effort (which hasn't been done for Firebee, btw) it could be taken

And just to follow up on that point, I think it's better to invest such effort in VHDL / FPGA development in the Firebee and Mist. They are open projects. Then if Vampire wants those features they are free to take them.

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby exxos » Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:10 pm

Frank B wrote:Natami failed because the lead dev was sick of user's unrealistic expectations, took his ball and went home.


This is the problem I have all the time. Even doing the boosters for example, next up is "why not alt-ram".. well ok, god dam wait.. that gets done, then its why no IDE.. why no extra video resolutions, why no LAN, why no this and that... well multiply that with 50 other projects and the same type of expectations and it results in a huge problem.

I think a lot of people forget that people like me, don't just wake up one morning and decide to build a whole new motherboard, it doesn't work like that. I never built IDE for example, so I need to review current designs, see whats good and bad, build, test, debug, build test debug over and over until I am happy with the solution and its reliable. That could take a whole year to work on, and I can't just work on one thing constantly as I have many other projects people are waiting on.

Ragstaff wrote:And just to follow up on that point, I think it's better to invest such effort in VHDL / FPGA development in the Firebee and Mist. They are open projects. Then if Vampire wants those features they are free to take them.


This is exactly my point I was making (or trying to) earlier. Most projects like boosters, there isn't much past broken fragments of info lost over time.

Fast Technologies had things like the T25 booster, very good 68000 design with cache. Guy vanishes, and the design is lost. Rinse and repeat for pretty much all hardware development over the years. I wrote to TUS a few times in the past asking about obtaining their designs. No luck, people have tried with ICD to obtain their stuff to rebuild, no luck there. Same thing over and over year after year.

This is why myself and people like Rodolphe are re-creating boosters, we are learning all about how the CPU's work, integrate with the ST and learning all the chaos the interfacing causes. Just look how much time I have "lost" fighting bad signals on the bus for starters. All my work is documented on my site for future people who run into the same issues.

So while we are doing all the "same old tech" which has been around for 30 years, there is no real information and no real open source "kit" for anything. This was has to be done and if people want "more stuff" then they can build on such designs.

So the future is open source. Plane and simple. Be it VHDL or real hardware stuff or whatever. Then designs can be adapted or improved as times goes on, and all this constant re-inventing the wheel will be finally done away with.

While VHDL seems common, Its not something I know much about, its ok having open source, but trying to follow someone else's code and modifying it can be a nightmare. Its bad enough when I look at my own code 6 months later and can't figure out whats going on, never mind what someone else has coded. I think this is why people tend to start over again, then re-lean stuff which is already known. At least the work I do is always documented, so all my trials and pitfalls are all wrote down for others to use as a reference.

So again, open source with proper documentation is the only future. Once we can get out of these re-inventing the wheel loops, proper more constructive progress can be made.
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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby Atari030 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:44 pm

Chris, I can tell you people like myself appreciate everything you, Alan, Rudolph and the rest of the blokes here do. What you fellers do in your play time is astounding and from someone who has watched the development of Atari machines since around 1980 can only marvel at what you have done. What you are producing now, for the prices you are asking was impossible back in the day.
I think you are right, Tom. Move onto the new hardware and keep pushing the boundaries of the old, for those that want to do it. I'm happy to jump into both camps.
The only issue I have with the current crop of gear is to decide where to start with which addon. A good problem to have. Best of all, you fellers are right here to help.

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby exxos » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:27 pm

Atari030 wrote:Chris, I can tell you people like myself appreciate everything you, Alan, Rudolph and the rest of the blokes here do. What you fellers do in your play time is astounding and from someone who has watched the development of Atari machines since around 1980 can only marvel at what you have done. What you are producing now, for the prices you are asking was impossible back in the day.
I think you are right, Tom. Move onto the new hardware and keep pushing the boundaries of the old, for those that want to do it. I'm happy to jump into both camps.
The only issue I have with the current crop of gear is to decide where to start with which addon. A good problem to have. Best of all, you fellers are right here to help.


Thanks :) Nice to see a positive post , they seem to be lacking somewhat lately.

Theres a few working on boosters, like myself and Rodolphe, and TerribleFire. We may all be working on similar projects, but they offer different features and different price ranges. Its up to the end user what they want to buy/build. Everyone has different needs and wants. So there should be some really good choices coming up in the near future.

As said before, all these projects will become open source, so if people want to add stuff, or add more features, then they are free to do so. Everyone is sick of re-inventing stuff over and over. Hopefully some really nice kits will become available in the near future. Believe me when I say a lot of peoples "wishes" for various features is being worked on by various people. A hell of a lot goes on behind the scenes which hasn't even been mentioned on the groups yet. A lot of good stuff is coming, I wouldn't say so unless it was true :)
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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby 1st1 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:28 pm

exxos wrote:
Frank B wrote:Natami failed because the lead dev was sick of user's unrealistic expectations, took his ball and went home.


This is the problem I have all the time.


Gunnar told me they gave up Natami because Coldfire was not able to run Amiga-OS due to same incompatiblity which also prevents a lot of software to run on Firebee. Firebee's advantage is that we have opensource EmuTos and MiNT and we can recompile some software where source code is available. Original AmigaOS 1.x, 2.x, 3.x was not available as OpenSource (but now if you search patentially you'll find the sources of 3.1, but that's not legal to use them) Ok, meanwhile they have OpenSource AROS, but that is still not that advanced as EmuTOS/Mint, when comparing AROS with Amiga-OS and EmuTOS/MiNT with TOS/MultiTOS. And ten years ago, when they investigated into Coldfire AROS still was even more basic than now... It did not made sense for them. Now they have something, it's still not as fast as Coldfire can be with optimized software, but it has a lot of potential to overtake very soon.
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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby Frank B » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:39 pm

1st1 wrote:
exxos wrote:
Frank B wrote:Natami failed because the lead dev was sick of user's unrealistic expectations, took his ball and went home.


This is the problem I have all the time.


Gunnar told me they gave up Natami because Coldfire was not able to run Amiga-OS due to same incompatiblity which also prevents a lot of software to run on Firebee. Firebee's advantage is that we have opensource EmuTos and MiNT and we can recompile some software where source code is available. Original AmigaOS 1.x, 2.x, 3.x was not available as OpenSource (but now if you search patentially you'll find the sources of 3.1, but that's not legal to use them) Ok, meanwhile they have OpenSource AROS, but that is still not that advanced as EmuTOS/Mint, when comparing AROS with Amiga-OS and EmuTOS/MiNT with TOS/MultiTOS. And ten years ago, when they investigated into Coldfire AROS still was even more basic than now... It did not made sense for them. Now they have something, it's still not as fast as Coldfire can be with optimized software, but it has a lot of potential to overtake very soon.


Natami has nothing at all to do with the Coldfire. The plan was always to use a 68060 if I remember correctly. Natami was an Amiga compatible at the register level with lots of enhanced sprite and playfield hardware. There was also talk of a "Robin" DSP which was going to be amazing.. That never materialised.

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby 1st1 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:55 pm

No, Natami first was 68030, then 68060, then Coldfire, then softcore 68050/070, then switch to Apollo 68080/Vampire. See yourself http://web.archive.org/web/201604190702 ... net/qa.htm
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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby Frank B » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:11 am

1st1 wrote:No, Natami first was 68030, then 68060, then Coldfire, then softcore 68050/070, then switch to Apollo 68080/Vampire. See yourself http://web.archive.org/web/201604190702 ... net/qa.htm


I'm still waiting for the Robin DSP!

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby 1st1 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:45 am

Ask W.Förster to finish DSP56001 VHDL design, with ARM/Altera bus interface, then it can be attached to Apollo core.
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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby joska » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:41 am

1st1 wrote:Ask W.Förster to finish DSP56001 VHDL design, with ARM/Altera bus interface, then it can be attached to Apollo core.


That would only make sense if also the complete Falcon Videl, DMA and sound subsystem is implemented, allowing to run legacy Falcon software.
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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby leech » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:19 am

1st1 wrote:No, Natami first was 68030, then 68060, then Coldfire, then softcore 68050/070, then switch to Apollo 68080/Vampire. See yourself http://web.archive.org/web/201604190702 ... net/qa.htm


Pretty sure Coldfire had been considered only briefly. They looked at it and knew it'd make things far less compatible than would be worth it, which is why they started on the 68050, finally deciding on the 68080. Then I think Natami just ended up with the huge 'vaporware' from the Amiga community (there are a lot of jerks there, though also a lot of cool people, but really it's terribly split between OS4/AROS/Classic/MorphOS).

I've been following it all for quite a few years, and am waiting for either the standalone Vampire or the A4000 one, sounds like it'll be cheaper than the resurrected Phase 5 PPC boards.

exxos wrote:As said before, all these projects will become open source, so if people want to add stuff, or add more features, then they are free to do so. Everyone is sick of re-inventing stuff over and over. Hopefully some really nice kits will become available in the near future. Believe me when I say a lot of peoples "wishes" for various features is being worked on by various people. A hell of a lot goes on behind the scenes which hasn't even been mentioned on the groups yet. A lot of good stuff is coming, I wouldn't say so unless it was true :)


All of these projects are awesome. I would be all about buying your boosters, but trying to figure out if they keep enough compatibility (I'd think so since they are switchable) to be worth it for me who owns almost the full line of STs. Even on top of that, I own a MiST as well.

What I'd love to see is if someone would work on something akin to the VBXE for the 8-bits for the ST. But of course it'd need to be backward compatible with the ST(e)/TT/Falcon video modes.

Keep on doing what you're doing, Chris! My 1040STe appreciated the TOS and PSU upgrade. Though I think I still have some capacitors to swap. It's such an odd time to own an Atari computer, seems more things work on my TT030 and Falcon030 than they do on my 1040STe...

One thing I've found different between the Atari and Amiga community... the Atari guys actually support open source and embrace it for everything from hardware to software. Amiga guys... with the exception of AROS, somehow people there still think that selling Amiga computers and software is viable beyond making a few hardcore nerds happy. It's the same reason why they still care deeply about who actually owns the AmigaOS pre-OS4 instead of just letting it be open sourced already.

1st1 wrote:Ok, meanwhile they have OpenSource AROS, but that is still not that advanced as EmuTOS/Mint, when comparing AROS with Amiga-OS and EmuTOS/MiNT with TOS/MultiTOS. And ten years ago, when they investigated into Coldfire AROS still was even more basic than now... It did not made sense for them. Now they have something, it's still not as fast as Coldfire can be with optimized software, but it has a lot of potential to overtake very soon.


Eh? Have you ever used AROS? It's actually quite advanced and supports multiple architectures outside of just 68k/Coldfire/PPC. Not sure where you get your information from. EmuTOS still doesn't even look as nice as AROS does, not that I'm saying both are a huge acheiment, but it'd be silly to say that AROS is not that advanced.
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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby Maeke » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:56 am

i think he talked about the complete setup emutos/mint, not just about emutos. and it was to compare the difference between amigaos and aros to the difference between the setup tos/multitos and the setup emutos/mint. So to say, emutos/mint as done much more progress from tos/multitos than aros has made progress from amigaos from his point of view.

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby exxos » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:30 am

leech wrote:All of these projects are awesome. I would be all about buying your boosters, but trying to figure out if they keep enough compatibility (I'd think so since they are switchable) to be worth it for me who owns almost the full line of STs. Even on top of that, I own a MiST as well.


Each hardware change will break something, thats just how things are. Similar with the MSTE may not run some legacy apps due to caches or higher speeds.

My boosters all use the 68000, just faster. This will break anything which needs cycle accurate timings, like full screen demos or rasters in games etc. Though it can't be avoided, the CPU runs faster, so things which are timing sensitive will break.

This is why I have a 8MHz mode on all my boosters, no need for 2 machines then, just flip a switch and your back to stock timings again.

leech wrote:One thing I've found different between the Atari and Amiga community... the Atari guys actually support open source and embrace it for everything from hardware to software. Amiga guys... with the exception of AROS, somehow people there still think that selling Amiga computers and software is viable beyond making a few hardcore nerds happy. It's the same reason why they still care deeply about who actually owns the AmigaOS pre-OS4 instead of just letting it be open sourced already.


I think Amiga world is more commercial driven, if they are in it for profit then of course it will be closed source. The Atari market isn't that big, I am lucky to sell 10 of anything, and it barely covers the costs of the production run. I keep my designs back until I recover some costs, its the only way I can survive.. I am not a rich person and like I said before, I spent £700+ in V2 PCB's in prototypes alone. If I open sourced that project , someone else would produce them, and I would be £700+ out of pocket and that would mark the end of all my Atari work.

My V1 booster design was documented and published on my site, along with my V5 floppy kit, I think Ralcool based his floppy mod on my design. So its not like I never publish anything, Just have to find a balance which enables me to continue working without going bankrupt.

When the day comes I leave the Atari world, everyone has my word that all my projects files from day 1 will be published. Stuff is already documented on my site as mentioned before away.
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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby Frank B » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:20 pm

1st1 wrote:Ask W.Förster to finish DSP56001 VHDL design, with ARM/Altera bus interface, then it can be attached to Apollo core.


Robin has nothing to do with the 56k. It was a totally vapourware design from Gunnar that never saw the light of day. It was supposed to be the best DSP EVER built.

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby DarkLord » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:44 pm

exxos wrote:
When the day comes I leave the Atari world, everyone has my word that all my projects files from day 1 will be published. Stuff is already documented on my site as mentioned before away.


I sincerely hope that day doesn't occur within my lifetime! :(
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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby exxos » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:15 pm

DarkLord wrote:
exxos wrote:
When the day comes I leave the Atari world, everyone has my word that all my projects files from day 1 will be published. Stuff is already documented on my site as mentioned before away.


I sincerely hope that day doesn't occur within my lifetime! :(


I don't plan to retire anytime soon, though it depends on if people want the stuff I produce or not. If everyone stops buying stuff, then I will move on. So its up to the community more than anything :)
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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby IngoQ » Wed May 10, 2017 9:50 am

Hi,

interesting discussion going on here...

But what worries me, is that people who invest their time and money in creating stuff not only for themselves but for others are criticized and pushed around as reward.

I do as well believe that the "Amiga"-way is different from the "Atari" way. But wasn't it always like this? I read the Atari claim in many signatures "Power without the Price". This was clearly targeted at Amigas being more pricey. So obviously who decided to buy an Amiga back then had apparently more money available as the guys who bought Ataris. Long-time Amiga users were often using their machines for video post production and 3D rendering, and had therefore the funds to buy really expensive machines including addons. The Atari lacked theses capabilities but instead developed a very loyal fan base who put their effort in doing the best and most cost-effective with the machines they had. This was in regard to software development as well as hardware development. Not that the Amiga did not have its equally loyal fan base, it is just different.

And now, 30 years later, it's basically still the same people. And not much has changed: Accelerators for Amigas are in most cases extremely expensive, and there is always this guy on ebay, who tries to get 12.000 EUR for his Amiga 4000... And the Atari users still try their best to get the most out of their machines by sticking to "power without the price".

What I am trying to say is, that both ways are valid, both obviously works and both has it's advantages and disadvantages.

Nevertheless I believe that one thing is universally true: If you want something to last, you'll have to share it. Of course everyone is free to do with his creation, whatever he pleases. But sitting on your knowledge just because its yours is something I never really understood. In German we have this nice phrase "Herrschaftswissen" which roughly translates to "knowledge as means of control or power". Nevertheless true freedom of information cannot be achieved in a world, where you have to earn money by doing things, others can't.

I believe Exxos found a good middle path between both, and I am truly thankful for everything he did so far. I find his website a wealth of information that helped me out in judging the state of my system, finding possible problems and solutions for them. If you come new to a system, getting an overview is really important and as much as I found this forum helpful, it is difficult to find specific information between all the discussions. So Websites and Wikis in general are really important.

For me - and I believe for many others as well - these old machines are a hobbie on which we are not willing or capable to spend unlimited money. We all do have other and more important obligations and I am truly gratefull, that exxos and others are creating great hardware that I can afford. But I am not willing to pay hundreds of EURs for an accelerator for my Amiga 1200. Not that it might not be worth it, it is simply not worth it for me.

So Exxos, please continue in doing what you do in knowing that there are a lot of us, who very much appreciate what you do and share. You can never satisfy everyone, so don't try to. And if we have this great idea and feel the urge to share it with you, rest assured that this is just a compliment on everything you already did :)

Yes, maybe a little cheesy, but I have seen so many people quitting projects out of frustration. If you don't do it for the money, then you do it for recognition, so here is mine :)
Ingo :coffe:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby itaboy » Wed May 10, 2017 10:28 am

I totally agree with Ingo.
The Atari market is much to small for anyone to speculate and get rich.
I really appreciate the work that Chris, Alan and Rudolph and all the others bring forward. And I feel that recognition is deserved for the time and effort that goes in it. I will always do my best to support you guys.

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby leech » Wed May 10, 2017 5:56 pm

IngoQ wrote:Hi,

interesting discussion going on here...

But what worries me, is that people who invest their time and money in creating stuff not only for themselves but for others are criticized and pushed around as reward.

I do as well believe that the "Amiga"-way is different from the "Atari" way. But wasn't it always like this? I read the Atari claim in many signatures "Power without the Price". This was clearly targeted at Amigas being more pricey. So obviously who decided to buy an Amiga back then had apparently more money available as the guys who bought Ataris. Long-time Amiga users were often using their machines for video post production and 3D rendering, and had therefore the funds to buy really expensive machines including addons. The Atari lacked theses capabilities but instead developed a very loyal fan base who put their effort in doing the best and most cost-effective with the machines they had. This was in regard to software development as well as hardware development. Not that the Amiga did not have its equally loyal fan base, it is just different.


I always kind of thought the 'Power without the Price' was a dig toward the Mac, since for quite some time, that's what they were trying to compete against, more of a professional machine. Then again, they also wanted to kick it to Commodore for all the rivalry there.

But I agree with your hole post, even though I cut some of it out. Thanks go off to the the geniuses that still support our hobby so we not only can keep them running, but make them run faster.

Some of the CPU boosters for example.. they would have been REALLY expensive back in the day, but modern availability of a lot of the things makes them far cheaper to make.

Look at the CT60e vs trying to get an 68060 into an Amiga...
Atari 8Bits: 800xl, 600xl, XEGS, 800, 130xe, 130xe (fully upgraded (soon!))
Atari STs: 1040STf (broken shifter), 1040STe, Mega STe, TT030, Falcon (CT60e, SuperVidel)

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby exxos » Thu May 18, 2017 5:44 pm

IngoQ wrote:
I believe Exxos found a good middle path between both, and I am truly thankful for everything he did so far. I find his website a wealth of information that helped me out in judging the state of my system, finding possible problems and solutions for them. If you come new to a system, getting an overview is really important and as much as I found this forum helpful, it is difficult to find specific information between all the discussions. So Websites and Wikis in general are really important.

So Exxos, please continue in doing what you do in knowing that there are a lot of us, who very much appreciate what you do and share. You can never satisfy everyone, so don't try to. And if we have this great idea and feel the urge to share it with you, rest assured that this is just a compliment on everything you already did :)

Yes, maybe a little cheesy, but I have seen so many people quitting projects out of frustration. If you don't do it for the money, then you do it for recognition, so here is mine :)

:cheers: [smilie=greencolorz4_pdt_01.gif]

Thanks for your kind words.

Yes, its very hard to know what to do with information and kits. Everyone wants something different, I can produce 100 kits and lucky to sell 5 of each one. It makes it hard to decide what kits to manufacture as it all takes up huge amounts of time and money. I spend 5 figures on atari stuff each year. I have to recover all that money just to break even with my expenses. Its very difficult.
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - various clutter

http://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
http://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.
http://ataristeven.exxoshost.co.uk/Steem.htm Latest Steem Emulator

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby leech » Thu May 18, 2017 10:05 pm

Just keep on making kits, I'm sure I'll find a use for them. :D I definitely need to do a once over with capacitors on my 1040STe, (probably the STf as well). Should have just ordered toggle switches from you too for the CT60e. Speaking of which, I wonder how the progress was someone else posted about making a internal power mount for those with the CT60e? I still need to get FreeMiNT to be happy with it....
Atari 8Bits: 800xl, 600xl, XEGS, 800, 130xe, 130xe (fully upgraded (soon!))
Atari STs: 1040STf (broken shifter), 1040STe, Mega STe, TT030, Falcon (CT60e, SuperVidel)

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby IngoQ » Fri May 19, 2017 11:42 am

exxos wrote: :cheers: [smilie=greencolorz4_pdt_01.gif]
Yes, its very hard to know what to do with information and kits. Everyone wants something different, I can produce 100 kits and lucky to sell 5 of each one. It makes it hard to decide what kits to manufacture as it all takes up huge amounts of time and money. I spend 5 figures on atari stuff each year. I have to recover all that money just to break even with my expenses. Its very difficult.


My guess regarding the STE booster would be, that a lot more people would want one, but lack the capability to install it. So if you are indeed working on a pluggable solution this might be a very smart move. This version will of course be more expensive since you would be aiming at less skilled customers, and therefore had to sell complete boards. And if someone doesn't mind doing some soldering, you could always sell a kit for a buck less.

And as I already wrote: You cannot make everyone happy, so don't try to. You made this smart move with the poll for the boosters for example. Now you know that there are certain preferences and can concentrate more on these, if you choose to do so.

And I strongly believe, no one here will think less of you if you work on one project at a time in a pace of your choosing. People will make requests but "no, not now" is perfectly valid answer. And we all know, that there is a live outside as well. You know, the guy who built the C64 Ultimate Module (great piece of hardware by the way!) worked and worked and worked.... and forgot his family. Thankfully he realized his mistake and with his family's support he continued his project at a slower pace. Yes of course the scene had to wait longer for their modules... and of course some complained. But the majority understood and helped by paying in advance for example.

So my message is: We are grateful for anyone contributing anything. And we would very much like you to stick around much, much longer. And if this means, we don't always get what we want when we want it, this is merely a valuable lesson in life. Don't burn yourself out and don't mind too much about other peoples opinions. We are grown-ups and can handle a No. Or at least you will not see when we cry in our pillows ;)

And regarding the financial side: Yes, I made this pledge about Atarians beeing more "frugal", but this does not mean you aren't allowed to get something out of it. The Amiga ACA500plus (icomp) sells at 130 EUR and clocking at 14 to 42 MHz. That's a lot room to your current STE Boosters price....
Ingo :coffe:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: Overall strategy for hardware mods, upgrades, clones

Postby exxos » Fri May 19, 2017 12:40 pm

IngoQ wrote:
My guess regarding the STE booster would be, that a lot more people would want one, but lack the capability to install it. So if you are indeed working on a pluggable solution this might be a very smart move. This version will of course be more expensive since you would be aiming at less skilled customers, and therefore had to sell complete boards. And if someone doesn't mind doing some soldering, you could always sell a kit for a buck less.


The current STE booster is already a kit, though again time wise, building up a complete plug in board is very time consuming. So the price will be of course higher.


IngoQ wrote:And as I already wrote: You cannot make everyone happy, so don't try to. You made this smart move with the poll for the boosters for example. Now you know that there are certain preferences and can concentrate more on these, if you choose to do so.


Everyone wants everything, that is what it boils down to. What people don't get is, while things may look quick and simple, which they might well be, There can be 100 of such projects, and 100 simple projects is basically a year worth of time if not more.

Take the simm I designed , Think It took a hour to route it, but I spent probably best part of a week looking for DRAMS. Now I am chasing the SMT stencils, looking for best supplier of the DRAMs, then I have to solder them all, of course pasting and placing parts, then testing each one.. so that simple "1 hour project" turns into about 2+ months of work.

Not only that, but if I have a machine in for repair, I do that as a priority, so that "1 hour project" gets pushed back another week.. and well you get the idea.. this is why the Falcon PSU's have taken several months to even get near completion.

IngoQ wrote:And I strongly believe, no one here will think less of you if you work on one project at a time in a pace of your choosing. People will make requests but "no, not now" is perfectly valid answer. And we all know, that there is a live outside as well. You know, the guy who built the C64 Ultimate Module (great piece of hardware by the way!) worked and worked and worked.... and forgot his family. Thankfully he realized his mistake and with his family's support he continued his project at a slower pace. Yes of course the scene had to wait longer for their modules... and of course some complained. But the majority understood and helped by paying in advance for example.


Family is important as well. I spend weekends with my girlfriend, I do potter online over the weekend, but thats "family time". There is more to life than just "work". If I had weekends to work on projects, I could be banging out a new kit every week.. But thats not how I roll.

IngoQ wrote:So my message is: We are grateful for anyone contributing anything. And we would very much like you to stick around much, much longer. And if this means, we don't always get what we want when we want it, this is merely a valuable lesson in life. Don't burn yourself out and don't mind too much about other peoples opinions. We are grown-ups and can handle a No. Or at least you will not see when we cry in our pillows ;)


I dont plan on vanishing, but people should be aware ive been doing PCB's & soldering for like 25 years now. Its got to the point where I just dont find designing huge complex PCB's (which can take 100's of hours) enjoyable any more. Its why I mostly have been only working on smaller projects lately.


IngoQ wrote:And regarding the financial side: Yes, I made this pledge about Atarians beeing more "frugal", but this does not mean you aren't allowed to get something out of it. The Amiga ACA500plus (icomp) sells at 130 EUR and clocking at 14 to 42 MHz. That's a lot room to your current STE Boosters price....


I do have a lot of plans/ideas/requests for kits, but realistically, a lot of what I want to do, just isn't going to get done. Really I want to finish the ultimate 68000 booster and produce it at a low cost. Currently, profits from sales get invested in improvements, so overall, the prices for the kits can never decrease. If I produced the "ultimate final booster" and no improvements were planned, then the price would eventually fall on that kit, depending on sales that is.

Prices for stuff, ages old debate there I guess. I spent over £10,000 this past year in just parts for various projects, this means the total profits from my store have to equal £10,000 just to break even. I barely manage to balance it out each year.

OTOH, when people see "just a chip on a PCB" for £65+.. Well these prices have been worked out very carefully to be my break even cost for them. Problem is, I have done some things like the MEGA ST ROM board which never sell, so I "lost" a lot of cash on that project. There are others projects as well which never sold. So all these "losses" will have to be lumped into other items "costs". Again its one reason I am trying to work on smaller/cheaper products at the moment to recover some costs for piles of stuff which never sold.

Overall, money while a issue, its mostly time which is is short supply. At the end of the day, I am only 1 person :)
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - various clutter

http://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
http://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.
http://ataristeven.exxoshost.co.uk/Steem.htm Latest Steem Emulator


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